Ho Ho Ho, and a bottle of rum!

Rum is proving to be a big hit with Brits who have showed their love of the pirates’ tipple according to the latest sales figure.

After Christmas sales are taken into account, rum is expected to exceed the £1billion sales mark by the end of 2017, following in the footsteps of gin which broke a billion pounds in 2016.
The latest market report released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association shows that total sales in the UK up to September this year reached £991million, up 5% on the same period last year.

This is the equivalent of 34.3 million bottles sold in our shops and supermarkets, pubs, bars and restaurants. If current trends continue rum sales in the UK will be worth over £1billion by the time the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

In the last 5 years UK rum has seen sales increase 18% by volume and 38% by value.

The latest increase in sales attests to the growing appetite in the UK for rum and the increasing number of brands on the market. In 2006, there were around 50 rum brands on the UK market, which has now increased to over 150 in 2016, showing that curiosity in new and different brands is not confined only to gin.

Sales of rum over the summer were given a boost as Brits enjoyed trying new concoctions whipped up as part of a craft cocktail craze. In the 12 weeks to 9/9/17 £76 million worth of rum was sold in our shops and supermarkets a rise of 6% compared to the same time last year.

Sales in the UK’s pubs, bars and restaurants saw a healthy 9% increase compared to the same 12 weeks in 2016. Flavoured and spiced rum has shown strong growth in UK shops and supermarkets up 14% in both volume and value sales - selling over 9.2 million bottles, worth £123 million in the 12 months to September this year.

In the UK’s pubs bars and restaurants Golden has enjoyed double digit growth over the summers months (12 weeks to 9/917) worth £76 million up 14% on last year.

Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said:

“Rum has packed a punch in terms of sales this year benefiting from the nation’s thirst for craft cocktails. We are pleased to see a rapid growth in the number of distilleries in the UK which has enabled our innovative spirit makers to expand their ranges with many introducing a rum into their portfolio. In turn, this has led to more and more rum bars emerging and established bars stocking a greater range of rums behind the bar.”

Peter Thornton, Rum & Cocktail Category Development Manager at Cellar Trends, adds:

“2017 has been a very good year for rum in the UK with consumer interest continuing to grow, and an extremely busy one for Cellar Trends with our varied portfolio. All the signs seem to suggest rum will continue to prosper in 2018 as the number of rums brands, and styles increases further – I’ll raise a glass to that this New Year!”


Prosecco boom helps Italian wine become the best seller in UK pubs

Wine from Italy is the biggest seller by country in the UK’s pubs, bars and restaurants. The latest WSTA market report shows over 64.6 million bottles of Italian wine, including still and sparkling, were sold in the on trade in the 12 months to September.

In total sales of Italian wine have gone up 7% in volume sales and up 13% in value, worth £1.1 billion, compared to the previous year. Much of the rise is attributed to the Prosecco boom in the UK, giving British pubs a much needed boost.

Sparkling wine is worth nearly £500m a year to the on trade, with another £400m from Champagne sales in the last year. 48% of volume sales is estimated to be from Prosecco alone, nearly 10m bottles.

Despite the success of sparkling and Italian wine in the pubs bars and restaurants, fears remain over the ability of UK pubs to thrive as rising inflation, currency devaluation and uncertainties surrounding Brexit mean that it is more expensive to import wine from the EU.

Overall wine volumes in pubs, bars and restaurants, have declined by 10% since 2013 but wine from the EU accounts for 62% of all wine sold in the UK on trade. This is up 9% since 2013, showing that consumers are increasingly looking to EU wines to enjoy with their meals and whilst out with friends for a drink. Nearly £7 out of every £10 spent in the on trade are on EU wines.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:

“The growth in popularity of wine from Italy has hugely benefited the British pub, bar and restaurant trade. The prosecco boom has made sparkling wine more affordable on a night out and encouraged people to try something new. We are increasingly seeing pubs expanding their wine lists, which is fantastic for the wine industry and consumer choice.

But our great British pub industry still facing growing pressures from high duty collections and decreased consumer spending but also from uncertainties surrounding Brexit. Wines from the EU account for 3 out of every 5 bottles sold in UK pubs, bars and restaurants and it is vital for UK pubs that trade flows remain open, easy and frictionless.

We are delighted to have moved on to the next phase of negotiations and hope that the government can deliver for the UK pub goer.”
British pubs are closing at an average 21 per week as landlords across the country battle against rising costs, high duty rates and the uncertainties of Brexit.

The UK is one of the key global hubs for the wine trade and last year the UK traded just shy of £2.3 billion in wine. It is the world’s second largest importer of wine by both volume and value.

The wine industry is currently supporting 554,000 British jobs across the supply chain and is worth £50 billion in economic activity.


The Chancellor pours out some festive spirit as he heeds WSTA calls to freeze wine and spirit duty

A freeze will save the industry around 247 million pounds which will help industry re-invest and grow.


The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has warmly welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to freeze wine and spirit duty at the Budget today (Weds).


Philip Hammond made a u-turn on his unpopular plan to increase wine and spirit duty by RPI inflation for a second time this year.


Instead the Chancellor has chosen to listen to the WSTA’s call to support our great British industry and British consumers with a festive friendly freeze on February 1st, 2018.


The WSTA has calculated that the change in government policy will save the UK wine and spirit trade around £247 million. The wine and spirit industry supports 554,000 British jobs and generates £50 billion for the UK economy. It already contributes over £7.5bn to the Treasury in duty alone.


Introducing the duty freeze in today’s Budget the Chancellor highlighted his support for the great British pub, where wine and spirit sales now account for 36% of alcohol sold across the bar.
The freeze will mean that duty on an average priced bottle of still wine will remain at £2.16, sparkling wine stays at £2.77 and duty on an average priced bottle of spirits, at 40% abv, remains £8.05.


It is only the second time in 15 years that wine duty has been frozen.


The WSTA argued that a freeze or a cut was a win/win for both the Treasury and the wine and spirit industry, which has been proven in previous Budget success stories.


After a freeze in wine duty in the 2015 Budget, wine duty income increased by £136m (+3.6%) the following year and after a 2% cut in spirits duty that year, spirits duty income increased by £124m (+4.1%) over the same period.


Commenting on the Chancellor’s decision to freeze wine and spirit duty, Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said:


“We are pleased that the Chancellor has found his festive spirit and listened to the call from the WSTA and its members and has frozen wine and spirit duty. He has shown the Government is in touch with what consumers want and is supporting an industry which is proving to be a real asset to British business. He has recognised that rebalancing the UK’s excessive duty rates is a win/win for both the Treasury, the wine and spirit trade – not to mention consumers. This decision will be celebrated by millions who will raise a glass this festive season!”


Wine and spirit duty has been frozen at the current RPI inflationary rate of 3.4%. If duty had not been frozen wine and spirit duty would have risen another 3.8% - the Office of Budget Responsibility RPI forecast.


This will mean:

• Duty on a 750ml bottle of wine will remain at £2.16
• Duty on a 750ml bottle of sparkling will remain at £2.77
• Duty on a 750ml bottle of fortified will remain at £2.89
• Duty on a 70cl bottle of vodka at 37.5% abv will remain at £7.54
• Duty on a litre bottle of vodka at 37.5% will remain at £10.78
• Duty on a 70cl bottle of Gin at 40% will remain at £8.05
• Duty on a litre bottle of Gin at 40% will remain at £11.50

Foreign Secretary shows his support for the UK Wine and Spirit industry at the APPG Christmas drinks reception

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took time out of his busy schedule to toast the UK wine and spirit industry at a festive gathering in Westminster yesterday (Tuesday).


The Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip sampled wine from one of the world’s largest wine companies Gallo, whose HQ is in his constituency, as well as trying a glass of English sparkling wine.

He was one the many VIP guests at the All-Party Parliamentary Wine and Spirit Group’s Christmas reception who came to hear how government can show its support the UK’s wine and spirit industry.

The bash held at Portcullis House brought together MP’s and peers from across the parties to meet the UK’s wine and spirit producers and taste a range of their products.

Guests sampled a range of British gins, vodkas, Irish whisky, sherry as well as English wine and Californian wines.

The Wine and Spirit APPG chair Tim Loughton told a packed room that politicians should serve British whenever possible and help the trade grow.


Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:

“It has been a busy year for the WSTA including crucial talks with trade partners and members on how best to prepare for all forms of Brexit and two Budgets, the second of which resulted in a welcome freeze to wine and spirit duty. Rarely has nothing been so joyously celebrated! The Wine and Spirit APPG Christmas drinks reception was a great way to end an eventful year. It gave the WSTA team an opportunity to have an informal chat with numerous MPs, many of whom have vineyards, distilleries and wine and spirit businesses in their constituencies. I am pleased to report they were interested and keen to find out more about the UK wine and spirit trade and how they can support us, so bring on a merry Christmas and happy 2018!”

Tim Loughton Chair of the APPG for Wine and Spirits said:

“The UK wine and spirit industry supports over 550,000 jobs and contributes £50bn to the UK economy. It is hugely important to remind members of parliament that to allow industry to invest and grow it needs our support. MP’s and officials can start by making it their New Year’s resolution to serve British at all events and receptions.”

Bah, humbug! WSTA calls for Chancellor to prove he’s not a Scrooge by freezing duty on our festive tipples.

The UK’s basket of Christmas booze is set to cost an all-time high this year with 53.5 per cent of consumer’s cash going straight to the taxman.

The French will have more to celebrate this Xmas paying just 32 per cent tax.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is calling on the Chancellor to freeze wine and spirit duty in tomorrow’s budget or be labelled a Scrooge in the run up to Christmas.

With festive season preparations beginning to get underway British consumers will be amazed to know the true reality of the tax on their shopping. A surprising 76% of the cash paid by shoppers on an average priced bottle of spirit goes straight to the Treasury and 56% of an average priced bottle of wine.

This Christmas 53.5% of a typical festive booze shop will go on tax if Philip Hammond fails to find his Christmas spirit on Budget day.

As a result of the Chancellor raising alcohol duty by 3.9% in the March budget, and if he goes ahead with plans for a second 3.4% rise tomorrow, this year’s basket of Christmas booze will cost  £4.40 more in duty and VAT, 5% more than last Christmas.

The sneaky inflationary increases are part of a government policy planned to last for the duration of this Parliament, which means the Government is set to rake in £1.9 billion over the next five years.

£92.95, of the basket of Christmas booze will go to the taxman, courtesy of VAT and the increasingly excessive duty rates in the UK. This means that tax now accounts for 53.5% of the basket.

Last year consumers paid £88.55 in tax on the cost of the average household’s festive alcohol shop, which was 51% of the total cost.

These calculations are based on a typical festive season shop, consisting of 5 bottles of wine, 2 bottles of Champagne, 2 bottles of sparkling wine, 3 bottles of spirits, 2 bottles of port, 24 cans of beer and 12 ciders. If consumers were chose average priced bottles or cans in this shop it would set a UK family back £173.83, of which £92.95 will go directly to the Treasury.

The French have much more to celebrate this festive season as their shop is £27 cheaper and will pay just £46 in tax, meaning only 32% of the cost goes to the tax man.

The UK alcohol industry is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe, with British drinkers paying an extraordinary 68% of all wine duties collected by all 28 EU member states and 27% of all spirits duties. This is by far the most of any member state despite accounting for only 11 per cent of the total EU population.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:

“Comparing the wine and spirit tax regime in the UK to that in France puts the UK’s excessively high rate of excise duty firmly in the spotlight. The Treasury will be taking more money than ever off of British businesses and consumers this Christmas if planned duty hikes go ahead.  

A second rise this year will hit businesses hard at a time when they are dealing with higher costs through rising inflation, meeting the challenge of Brexit and decreasing consumer confidence. This will be particularly hard for our industry, its suppliers and consumers, to swallow, coming in the middle of the trade’s busiest period – Christmas.

The Chancellor can avoid being labelled a Scrooge this Christmas by freezing wine and spirit duty at tomorrow’s budget.”

The wine and spirit industry plays a hugely important role in the UK’s economy, directly and indirectly supporting 554,000 jobs and generating £50 billion in economic activity. 


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